Walls by Sola sekkei koubou

The little box home built for cosy living

Honor Kennedy Honor Kennedy
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Have you heard of a passive house? These dwellings take energy-efficiency to the next level with incredible technology and a desire to offer a high level of eco-friendliness. Initiated and conceived in Germany, the Passivhaus, as it is known, is a self-imposed set of regulations that seeks to drastically reduce energy usage within a home. And with the cost of energy constantly on the rise, it’s not hard to see why these dwellings are becoming particularly popular and desirable.

Today’s passive house project takes us to Fukuoka on the northern shore of Japan’s Kyushu Island. To work in conjunction the differing climactic conditions in the area, the residential construction has been designed to function with the weather, rather than against it. Planned by the passive house-focused firm Sola Sekkei Koubou, the dwelling is an interesting timber home that has been designed to create a family-friendly ambience, while maximising space for the occupant’s pet cat.

If you’d like to take a gander inside this intriguing home, check out the pictures below and perhaps glean a few ideas for your own abode.

The intriguing and interesting façade

The exterior of this dwelling is extremely alluring, as well as interesting. Drawing the visitor in with its rustic yet contemporary façade, we see that this home is certainly a departure from the surrounding architectural vernacular. 

The front garden is comprised of a range of different shrubs, gravel, and steps leading to the front timber deck. The timber-clad fascia is warm and inviting, while the large glazed doors and windows hint towards a modern interior. 

With a land size totalling 314.19 square meters, the home's plot is compact. And yet the architects have worked towards maximising the property's sense of spaciousness, and created 93.77 square meters of total floor area, over two storeys.

A warm and welcoming entrance

Boasting an alluring timber interior, even upon first entering this dwelling certainly leaves an impression. The timber has been carried within the home, and paired with earthy hued stone tiles, and fresh white walls. 

For those of you interested in the numbers—energy-wise the residence offers a wonderfully low output, with only 72.89 kWh/square meter-year total primary energy consumption. Of this, the annual heating load is 52.21 kWh/square meter-year, meaning the abode boasts a green rating far higher than most residential structures. 

Ticking all of the boxes, fulfilling the requirements, recommendations and guidelines of passive design, the dwelling was able to meet the criteria needed to receive low-carbon housing certification. 

The light-filled living room

Inside the conventional two-storey timber home we see a surprisingly light and welcoming interior aesthetic. Designed for a mother and her two daughters, natural sunlight was imperative to the enjoyment of the dwelling. Utilising the sun's heat, the property takes advantage of these rays to heat the interior, while the passive house design means insulation protects the structure during the cooler months as well. 

As for the design, the home has embraced a modern rustic aesthetic, utilising different timber finishes throughout. The general ethos and aim for the dwelling was to be carbon-minimal and good to the environment, while warm and family-friendly. The home was to offer a time out from stressors and frustrations, and feel as though it was a serene escape, and somewhere tranquil for the family to reside. In addition, the home had to be cat-friendly—but more on that later…

The furniture is Danish-inspired, with plenty of rustic additions, which match the traditional style of the home. Beams are exposed and the fireplace sits elegantly in the corner, ideal for feeling toasty on a cold winter's day or eve. 

The kitchen and dining space

Turning around to take a peek at the kitchen and dining room, and we see the neat setup, which boasts the same timber aesthetic. Wishbone chairs sit around the table, while the fitting free timber joinery in the kitchen is stylish and sophisticated. 

A single light fitting sits above the central timber table and is installed on a track, which means it can be moved depending on the location of the furniture. 

Making the most of the mezzanine

To make the most of the double-height construction, a mezzanine has been added. This offers a neat home workspace, and is ideal for maximising the home's floor plan. The space also offers access to the other rooms on the second floor. Thanks to the ample windows, this space is certainly not lacking in natural light, rather it is luminous and well illuminated by the sun. 

Cosy, private interior areas

In this image we see a private room with timber floorboards, which is set slightly above floor level. Perfect for meditating away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the home, this area is quiet, contemplative and lit with a subtle amber glow. To offer that extra element of privacy, without closing off the entire space, the designers have installed a virtually opaque curtain that can be closed when in use. 

Cat-friendly living

As we mentioned earlier, this home has been designed for a mother and her two daughters… and a cat. To create a stylish yet exciting space for their furry feline, the architects have installed the 'catwalk'—a timber beam that leads to a first floor landing, with windows and a view to the outside world. Although the home may seem normal and designed in a typical fashion, there are plenty of hidden walkways, and steps to keep a cat busy and entertained. Take a look back at the pictures and see if you can spot any!

Did you enjoy touring this passive house? If you'd like to check out another home, we think you'll like: The traditional home with a sparkling surprise

Did you like this cat-friendly home?
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